Sunday, December 10, 2017

RC2017/10 -- Re-prize-al...

In our last installment, I announced that Niels Moseley (@trc_wm) would be awarding his "dead tree" copy of Racing the Beam by Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost to Eric Smith (@brouhaha). Consequently, Eric then informed me that he already had that book, that he had no need of another copy, and that he was just pleased to have been named a winner. Well, that's nice and all...but what about that book? :-)


Since Niels was generous enough to offer the book in the first place, it seemed right to me for Niels to have a say in its distribution. So, I suggested to him that he might hold the book for another round of RetroChallenge, choose to award it to another competitor, or possibly even keep the book for himself. Niels has graciously chosen to award another competitor.

After some consideration, Niels says "in light of the book's subject (minimal hardware of the Atari 2600), I'd like it to go to Mark Sherman for his Altair basic on the CoCo." So, there we have it! Congratulations to Mark (@carangil_mws) once again for his CoCo project.

Mark, check your message on Twitter for something from @CoCoCrewPodcast, and let us know if Niels and I need to make yet another pass on the awards... :-)

Monday, December 4, 2017

RC2017/10 -- Who Won What?

How embarassing! I finished remarks on the RC2017/10 entries and took a break to decide on final winners. Then I forgot that I never announced winners! Talk about a "senior moment"...

Prize Winners

Niels Moseley (@trc_wm) has offered-up a "dead tree" copy of Racing the Beam by Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost. I would like to award that prize to Eric Smith (@brouhaha).

I am providing a "dead tree" copy of Interfacing Microcomputers to the Real World by Murray Sargent III and Richard L. Shoemaker. I would like to award that prize to James Ots (@jamesots).

In honor of one other great project that also included some masterful "buttering up" of the judge, I am making available a brand new, boxed cartridge game for the Tandy Color Computer -- choice of Fahrfall, Xmas Rush, Follow CoCo, or Bomb Threat. I am awarding this prize to Jim Gerrie.

To claim your prize, please forward your mailing address to me via private message on Twitter as either @retrochallenge or @JohnWLinville.

Honorable Mentions

I wish I had prizes for everyone that competes in RetroChallenge, but for now that is beyond my means. Nevertheless, I would still like to recognize a few other stand-out projects. These include Paul Robson (@paulscottrobson), Niels Moseley (@trc_wm), Christopher Just (@coronax_cj), Franke Linde (@minus56bits), and Mark Sherman (@carangil_mws). Mark, you still owe The CoCo Crew (@CoCoCrewPodcast) an interview as well!

Seeya Soon!

I would like to remind everyone that RetroChallenge happens twice a year, six months apart. If you are crazy enough to compete, I am crazy enough to judge and comment. So, I will look forward to seeing most of you back along with some new competitors for RC2018/04 in April!

Monday, October 30, 2017

RC2017/10 -- Final Stretch

We knew the time would come eventually -- the end of the month draws near, and with it the end of the latest RetroChallenge event. It's been a busy month for me, although once again I've been too distracted between real life and my RetroChallenge judging duties to actually do anything on my actual project... :-(

Uncoordinated Stopping Time

The "official" (such as it is) stopping time for the event is midnight on Halloween, 31 October 2017. Just as we allow people to fudge their start time to match midnight in their local timezone, we similarly will recognize that many people will prefer to use their local midnight for their stop time -- no problem, please take that time. Just be on the Honor System to not borrow too much from anyone else's timezone! In any case, time is ticking -- run hard for the finish line!

Here Comes The Judge

We recognize that good documentation is not done in a rush at midnight. So we will give everyone an extra day or so to finish-up your blogging, videography, or whatever. The judge probably won't take too critical of a look at least until this weekend. With all these great projects, it make take a little while to pick winners and announce prizes. Don't worry, the judge is slow but only somewhat unreliable...

Anyway, even before the end gets here I think I can safely say that this has been another great RetroChallenge event. Thanks to all the competitors for the entertainment they are providing to me and other geeks around the world! Now be strong, keep the faith, fight the good fight, check-back here for the judging results sometime in the next couple of weeks or so, and meet back here for RC2018/04 in April 2018.

Oh yeah, and stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

RC2017/10 -- Halftime Report

It is traditional for there to be some sort of half-time report during the RetroChallenge events, and nearly just as traditional for that report to be a bit late... Well, what did you expect this time??

Comments In Blue

Like last time, I have marked my half-time comments on the entrants page. This is convenient for me, as I don't have to retype names, project descriptions, etc. Plus, I think it helps in keeping the comments near the projects themselves. In other words, I hope you like it because I intend to keep doing it for each event. The final comments will be done similarly, but in another color... :-)

Fourth Quarter Rally

All in all, I'd say we have a nice group of projects and some great contenders this time around. Sure, we have the usual few that still haven't made it out of the gate, but we have some folks that have made great progress and even one or two that could hang-up their soldering iron today and still make a good finish. I'm not sure we have many projects that meet our usual level of absurdity, but there is still time for that too!

So, get out there, check my comments, peek in at the competition, and get to going for the final week of the competition. If you are only observing, then check out my comments, let us know if you agree or disagree, and then cheer your favorites on their path to victory and glory...or at least victory... :-)

And remember, to see what happens you will need to stay tuned!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

RC2017/10 -- RetroChallenge Eve!

It's almost time for RC2017/10 -- the "official" start is at midnight UTC, on 1 October 2017. As I write this, that's only a few hours away. Alternatively, I'm happy to let anyone have until midnight in their local time as a "grace" period. I will extend the same sort of grace period to the end of the contest, so feel free to enjoy your Halloween later in the month! :-)

Latecomers Welcome

We usually see a number of entrants show-up after the start of the contest. I expect that will happen again this time. No problem -- send me the info about your entry and I'll get you on the list. Just keep in mind that starting later only cheats yourself of that extra time for your project. Then again, entering costs you nothing but your dignity...

Prizes Available

As usual, we have a few meager prizes to offer for what we deem to be the best entries. Niels Moseley (@trc_wm) has offered-up a "dead tree" copy of Racing the Beam by Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost. Similarly, I will provide a "dead tree" copy of Interfacing Microcomputers to the Real World by Murray Sargent III and Richard L. Shoemaker. I also reserve the right to dig something out of my stash if I deem it as an appropriate prize for an especially good project. And, of course, I am still open to hear from anyone else that would like to donate another prize.

Guide, Teach, Entertain

So, now is the time to execute your projects and share them with the world. Projects that provide regular and timely updates, produced for the "common man" but with a "skilled hobbyist" in mind will be the most favored. Thorough and lengthy writing is not particularly encouraged unless it is required for explaining some portion of the project, but clear, entertaining, and insightful writing will be highly esteemed. Similarly, video content can be a big plus, but keep your videos short enough to be consumed by a father of three teenagers... :-)

So, that's it for now -- do your best, and good luck in your endeavours! Have fun, stay retro, and show us what you've got! I'm sure the rest of us will stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

RC2017/10 -- Open for Entrants!

OK...I reckon it's about that time again -- who is ready for another round of RetroChallenge?!?!?!

Enter Now

If you plan to join us in the RC2017/10 competition, now is the time to make yourself known. Feel free to refer to our "RetroChallenge Rules" page for reminders, but the basics are "do something interesting with an old computer, and blog about it for month". Whatever you are going to do, please send me an email describing:
  1. Your name (or alias);
  2. Your picture (or I'll find something online);
  3. Your Twitter handle (if applicable);
  4. Your blog location (for project updates); and
  5. A brief synopsis of your project.
I likely will produce an entrants list that looks a bit like the one from RC2017/04, so use that as a guide for the level of information needed. Please send the information requested above to me via email to linville at tuxdriver dot com -- figuring-out how to decode that address is your first test...

Go, Go, Go!

Well, then, that's all for now -- a little more than three weeks until the start of the competition! Currently I do not have any prize donations lined-up, but I am hopeful as always that some of our retro-oriented friends will come through with some great prize offerings. Or I probably can dig-up a thing or two around here. There should be some Tandy Assembly left-overs, if nothing else. Don't worry! Remember, the competition is it's own reward... :-)

Anyway, get your entry to me, order your parts, and make any necessary preparations. October will soon be here!

Friday, May 26, 2017

RC2017/04 Final Results

Not only has April come and past, but now May is soon to follow. It is high time to post some results!

As a reminder, we have the following prize donations:
  • Bounty Box: 8-bit pixelated sunglasses, a copy of The Soul of a New Machine (1981) in genuine dead-tree format, and and a pack of Sugru pliable epoxy repair putty (donated by Mike Spooner)
  • a copy of Terrible Nerd, signed paper book or kindle (donated by Kevin Savetz)
  • a signed/autographed Floppy Days T-shirt? Or any sort of Floppy Days item that can be purchased from VistaPrint (donated by Randy Kindig)
  • a copy of the Original Gamer Stevie Strow CoCoFEST 25th Anniversary Edition CoCo Game Play Videos DVD (donated by Steve Strowbridge)
  • two Raspberry Pi Zero W PCBs (donated by Michael Mulhern)
Just as a side note, Michael Mulhern was originally slated to help with the judging, but the real world has swamped him with personal committments. This has left the judging responsibilities completely to me this time around, so now you know whom to blame if you disagree with the results!

Now, on with the show! I would like to restate that the Retrochallenge is all about fun, with the understanding that it is fun to apply our technical skills and wherewithal to do silly things around old computers. A good showing in Retrochallenge should be fun for the participant and the audience, and receiving (or not receiving) a prize should not be seen as an endorsement (or lack thereof) of anyone's skills or efforts. With that in mind, I designate the following prize pairings in recognition for the entries that I found to be the most "Retrochallenge-y" this time around:
  • Bounty Box -- Richard Loxley
  • Terrible Nerd -- Scott Lawrence
  • Floppy Days schwag -- Tom Raidna
  • ogStevieStrow CoCo Game Play DVD -- Matteo Trevisan
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W -- Mark Sherman
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W -- Ryan Walmsley
Honorable Mentions also go out to Sean McNamara, Phillip Stevens, Alan Garfield, Christopher Just, and Mike Spooner -- nice projects! And, of course, we extend our deepest condolences to Rob O'Donnell on the untimely lost of his father. Best wishes to all, of course.

Prize winners, please send your shipping information to me as linville at tuxdriver dot com... If you can't decipher the email address, then ask in the comments! :-)
Well done, prize winners and honorable mentions! Better luck next time to the other competitors! And please do stay tuned for more Retrochallenge news and announcements as we approach the next event, currently slated for October 2017!